VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) — The petition drive to get Independent candidate Shaun Brown on the ballot in the second congressional district race is in question.
13News Now examined the legitimacy of signatures on the petitions for Brown. A staffer for Republican incumbent Rep. Scott Taylor gathered the signatures in question.
Taylor is running against Brown and democrat Elaine Luria.
Most citizens have probably been asked to sign one of these petitions in the past. Candidates set up at events or they go door-to-door, as part of a drive to get enough valid signatures on the ballot.
13News Now has uncovered some of these signatures were not signed by the actual people they claim to be.
Richard Cake's name and signature are found on a "petition of qualified voters" wanting to get Shaun Brown on the ballot. It is dated June 9, 2018.
The Virginia Beach man was married to Bet Cake for twelve years.
We say "was" because Richard Cake died in April. So how then could a dead man have signed a document on June 9, two months after he passed away?
His widow wants to know the same thing.
“It's totally different,” she exclaimed while comparing signatures. “It can't possibly be written by the same person.”
She said she signed an affidavit as part of an investigation into what happened.
“I'm personally hurt and very frustrated that my beloved husband would have his name used that way,” Bet said.
A few spaces down the document is an entry, which "Eileen Eady" as a "qualified voter" in Virginia. It is signed on June 9 to get Brown on the ballot. 13News Now Skyped with Eady at her current address in Las Vegas.
“I thought that's impossible,” Eady said. “I can't have signed any petition on June 9. I was living in Las Vegas and running for school board. So, I most definitely didn't live in Virginia Beach.”
Eady's Nevada voting record from the Secretary of State's office shows she's voted there since 2014.
The handwriting and signature on the petition look very different than her actual handwriting and signature, which she sent to us.
Both signatures in question were collected by one of Taylor's campaign staffers.
Some people have said because one of Taylor’s staffers filed the petition, he is attempting to influence the election and get support for the democratic challenger to Shaun Brown.
“They can say that all they want,” Taylor responded. “But if someone wants to volunteer to get someone on the ballot, it's not up to me to say yes or no.”
We asked Taylor what he would say to Bet Cake, who feels it was hurtful to see her dead husband’s name on that petition.
“I have no idea how that name got there,” Taylor said. “I have no idea how it got there. I've done this thousands of times. I feel sorry for her that she's now having to deal with this. I've gotten tens of thousands of signatures over the years. I don't know who actually signs them if they are right or wrong.”
13news now Political analyst Quentin Kidd said it is up to the state to certify the signatures.
“The question I have is how many names on these petitions are questioned and then you can then start looking at is there a pattern to those names, is there a pattern to who collected those signatures, is there a pattern to who turned them in?” Kidd explained.
He believes we need more information to figure out exactly what happened.
“If there are many more and there's a pattern here, then I think that requires further investigation and ultimately somebody has to answer for this,” Kidd said.
It is important to note each signature collector has to sign an affidavit swearing he or she witnessed each person actually sign the petition. Falsely signing that document is a felony.